A longtime Phoenix Suns ticket office employee has pleaded guilty to charges that he stole thousands of tickets over several years, selling them on the resale market. Jeffrey Marcussen, who worked for the team from 2004-2019, agreed to pay back nearly half a million dollars as part of a plea deal that could allow him see reduced jail time.

Marcussen’s con reportedly took place over the span of several years, and was found out when StubHub reported the high level of activity from one user selling tickets through multiple accounts to the team, which is not an official partner of the platform.

“StubHub contacted the NBA when it discovered five different Stub Hub accounts all linked to the Defendant,” prosecutors wrote in a November 2020 response to Marcussen’s motion to modify release conditions and to travel out of state. “After an internal audit by the Phoenix Suns Organization, which included a confession by the Defendant, law enforcement investigated the case. The investigation revealed, and bank records confirmed, that the Defendant received a total payout from Stub Hub for $458,218.”

As part of his plea, Marcussen will repay the team that amount, with another $1,780 paid to the Arizona Attorney General’s anti-racketeering fund and $11,818 to the Arizona Department of Revenue. The felony fraud and theft charges could carry a maximum of 13 years prison sentence, but prosecutors have asked for probation with a maximum of three years confinement after the plea.

The case bears significant similarities to other recent cases involving ticket office insiders who stole tickets for resale, with the notable exception that this one was found out by a resale marketplace turning in the seller when they weren’t partnered with the organization being defrauded. Ticket brokers in Pennsylvania got jail time for their role in a case where a USGA employee stole U.S. Open golf tickets for resale, and a ticket broker in Illinois also was sentenced to prison for selling tickets that a Chicago White Sox employee had fraudulently generated.

According to a statement provided to ESPN by Marcussen’s attorney, he had only begun the scheme in recent seasons, following the death of his brother.

“Jeff worked for the Phoenix Suns for close to 20 years,” says attorney Mark Kokanovich. “After the cold-blooded tragic murder of his brother near the end of Jeff’s career with the Suns, Jeff began selling tickets without team approval. Jeff admitted to the sales and reimbursed the team while cooperating with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.”

Prior to his dismissal by the team in 2019 after the scheme was discovered, Marcussen had been employed as an assistant director of ticketing for the organization.

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